As an MBA, I tend to be impressed by friends with an entrepreneurial spirit. I wrote this post in December 2008 regarding a friend who wrote and self-published a book. Recently, she has been picked up by Amazon Publishing and her book has been relaunched under a new cover. Further, she's taken it upon herself to open Waverly's Honey Shop. I'm very excited for her and more importantly, impressed how someone can put their mind to something and succeed.
On a different note, a high school classmate who has always been interested in musicals and theater has written and directed The Gilded, a new musical which opens in San Francisco tonight, Feb 18th. This blog has a video preview of the musical. Again, I'm impressed by the dedication and candor of this person who used to be a teammate for various projects.
This brings me to one of the classes I'm taking here at SSE, Ideation. We have a group assignment due next week where we have to interview a local entrepreneur and find out about their idea generation and business plan process. I find that some people find a love and work on it for years, like my friend who wrote the musical. Some people happen upon an idea, like my friend the author. The business owners we interviewed here in Sweden are what I would describe as a serial entrepreneurs. They already own an interior design firm and are in the process of making a TV show about design. In November 2008, they were on vacation in Nice, France and fell in love with an olive oil shop. Thinking the concept would transfer well to Sweden, they asked to speak to the shop owner who agreed to franchise the shop. Most of our conversation was with the manager of the shop, and it was interesting to get her opinion on what their target market should be, compared to what the entrepreneurs thought it was when they began. Additionally, the entrepreneurs targeted a location due to the affluence and education of the potential customers. Turns out, Swedes don't know as much about olive oil as those in greater Europe and approximately 60% of the products purchased from the store are gifts. Regardless of challenges, the concept is still quite interesting and the story had my attention.
Every week in Ideation, we have to come up with a new business idea. It doesn't have to be a new invention, but a new innovation. Little tweaks to the value proposition of current products/ services suffices. Listening to the stories of these entrepreneurs helps put into perspective that anyone can be an entrepreneur and everyone has ideas. I'll admit though, after 4 weeks of solid ideas, they're new ideas have become much harder.